Tennessee Discusses Sports Betting Bill

Tennessee Discusses Sports Betting Bill

Lawmakers in the state of Tennessee are working diligently on a piece of legislature that could, if passed as a bill, make sports betting legal in this state.

The legislation, known under the working title of, ‘Tennessee Sports Gaming Act,’ would authorize local governments to permit sports betting in their respective areas and counties…

…The proposed bill will be discussed during the 111th General Assembly scheduled for this week. The key objective of this legislature is to put power into the hands of local government and decide on this possible new source of income that could be invested in various social programmes.

The Question of Wandering Dollars

Bill’s main sponsor, state representative, Rick Staples, pinpoints the reasoning behind the Act that has already been repeated so many times…

…and that is, the neighboring states, that already have sports betting liberalized, are taking away vast sums of money from the people of Tennessee who choose to go there and wager.

“Billions of dollars leave the state of Tennessee to our neighboring states with casino and table gambling. Billions. So, this is a new stream of revenue that the federal government is allowing the states to take advantage of,” comments Staples, who is a House Representative and Assistant Minority Leader.

The HB0001 bill was filed back in November and it would need to be approved and signed by local government before it takes effect.

Specific Conditions and Rules

The bill defines terms of business in accordance of which interested companies and operators will have to work in order to deliver their sportsbooks to the market…

…For one thing, it requires these operators to be physically present within the state’s borders. They will also be allowed to install so-called kiosks all over the state in order to collect people’s wagers.

As bill’s originator, Staples’ vision wants to ensure that smaller municipalities get their share of tax revenue relief, while Middle Tennessee could see multiple benefits also.

He says that this would cause “an extra boom” in a city with several professional teams and a lot of bars and restaurants. “As long as they’re not serving alcohol in the same area that the sportsbook is, they can generate a lot of income and even more tax dollars.”

Reason For Optimism, But Also Caution

While another similar bill proposal for several cities is in the works by state senator, Brian Kelsey, Addiction Campuses Brian Sullivan calls for “cautious optimism” regarding these bills.

He admits that sports betting legalization can be very beneficial for the state in the sense that they bring in revenue…

…he reminds that, ultimately, this is what funds roads, education and scholarship, among other things. But he also remembers one other thing:

“One of the things that we would ask lawmakers is that they consider using the revenue that’s gained from this new law, to go into things like addiction treatment. Or to fund mindfulness programs.”

He denies there should be any link with the introduction of sports gambling and possible rising number of gambling addicts in Tennessee – “as long as that person is mindful that it could potentially turn into an issue for them.”


“New Bill Would Legalize Sports Betting in TN”, Kyle Horan, newschannel5.com, January 3, 2019.

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